thumbnail

Ground-water quality of the southern High Plains aquifer, Texas and New Mexico, 2001

Open-File Report 2003-345

By:

Links

Abstract

In 2001, the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program collected water samples from 48 wells in the southern High Plains as part of a larger scientific effort to broadly characterize and understand factors affecting water quality of the High Plains aquifer across the entire High Plains. Water samples were collected primarily from domestic wells in Texas and eastern New Mexico. Depths of wells sampled ranged from 100 to 500 feet, with a median depth of 201 feet. Depths to water ranged from 34 to 445 feet below land surface, with a median depth of 134 feet. Of 240 properties or constituents measured or analyzed, 10 exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency public drinking-water standards or guidelines in one or more samples?arsenic, boron, chloride, dissolved solids, fluoride, manganese, nitrate, radon, strontium, and sulfate. Measured dissolved solids concentrations in 29 samples were larger than the public drinking-water guideline of 500 milligrams per liter. Fluoride concentrations in 16 samples, mostly in the southern part of the study area, were larger than the public drinking-water standard of 4 milligrams per liter. Nitrate was detected in all samples, and concentrations in six samples were larger than the public drinking-water standard of 10 milligrams per liter. Arsenic concentrations in 14 samples in the southern part of the study area were larger than the new (2002) public drinking-water standard of 10 micrograms per liter. Radon concentrations in 36 samples were larger than a proposed public drinking-water standard of 300 picocuries per liter. Pesticides were detected at very small concentrations, less than 1 microgram per liter, in less than 20 percent of the samples. The most frequently detected compounds were atrazine and breakdown products of atrazine, a finding similar to those of National Water-Quality Assessment aquifer studies across the Nation. Four volatile organic compounds were detected at small concentrations in six water samples. About 70 percent of the 48 primarily domestic wells sampled contained some fraction of recently (less than about 50 years ago) recharged ground water, as indicated by the presence of one or more pesticides, or tritium or nitrate concentrations greater than threshold levels.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Ground-water quality of the southern High Plains aquifer, Texas and New Mexico, 2001
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2003-345
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2003
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
vii, 59 p. : ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ; 28 cm.